We are continuously labelled a generation of complainers, we are lazy and demanding. We want it all and we want it now. Labeled by those that have reaped the benefits of free university. Our generation on the other hand have committed our time to study, dedicated our years to multitasking university, unpaid internships and part time work. With all the effort we put in, there is that expectation that we will get something in return, right?
We enter the work force as young innovators, ready to contribute serious value. Unfortunately we don’t have the ‘minimum 3 years’ working experience that most jobs require. In a landscape that is so challenging and demanding, we can no longer afford to dwell of the privileges that our parents had. We have to take matters into our own hands. Rather then allowing our route to be mapped by organisations, our parents and the government, we need to trust ourselves to be in control of our future career.
Practical Experience Over Qualifications
It’s a sad reality, but that certificate that you paid thousand of dollars to gain, is at the end of the day just a piece of paper. Now this is not to say I think education is a waste of time, you do learn a shit load. But you need more than theoretical knowledge. Nurture the skills you have gained. Now that doesn’t mean immediately jumping into a three day a week unpaid internship. If you’re a writer, channel your passion into a blog and strive for exposure. The CEO of the Foundation for Youth Australians, Jan Owen tells us that entry-level jobs are disappearing, so you need to get that practical experience before you head into the workforce. If you choose the road of an unpaid internship, value yourself. Use it as an opportunity to network and do not over commit to a work environment that is negative and exploitive. Your future career depends on it.
Network, Network, Network
Our world is living proof that the sixth degree of separation is a real and working theory. People are power, and knowing people in your future career industry is not just a bonus but an incentive. Go to events, get business cards, chat to people. Don’t be scared to branch out. Like the look of volunteering for Greenpeace? Send an email, visit the office. From past experience, people are always willing to help those that make the effort. And remember the online world is a powerful place. Get yourself a LinkedIn profile. Pimp it out, request to connect with powerful people. You have nothing to lose, just a potential job to gain.
Age Is A Number, But Don’t Let It Get You Down
There is no denying that your resume will probably be overlooked based on your age. Large companies will often choose the 30-year-old candidate rather than a fresh-faced graduate. Try to seek out companies that provide great grad programs, I know they’re competitive but it’s a great place to start looking. Qantas provides a quality program with room for movement in different departments. Start-ups are also great to seek out, the experience you will gain at a start-up is invaluable. Your team is normally young, vibrant and innovative, and creative freedom is encouraged.
Keep Fighting The System
The current route to the workforce is not the only path for success. University is not the only option when you leave school. Apprenticeships, technical courses and practical experience can also provide you with a foot in the door. Don’t forget that there is also a world outside Australia. Take a year off, save some money at your hospo job, travel and gain experience overseas. It’s often the risks that make for invaluable experience. And remember your degree doesn’t define your future career. Your gained skills can be applicable to more than just your degree specified job. Think outside the box.
Full interview with Jan Owen’s featured in the Courier Mail June 8 2017.
Image Source: Forbes Magazine, Volunteer Match, Huffington Post, Twenty Something Living, Gonzales Languages, Twitter.